This seemed appropriate on the day of the Major League all-star game: An all-star team of the Yankees minor leaguers who have stood through the first half of the season. This is not meant to be a collection of the team’s top prospects at each position, but rather an attempt to pick the players who are having the best seasons up to this point. The level listed is where they’ve spent most of the season, not necessarily where they are now.
C – J.R. Murphy, Charleston
1B – Jorge Vazquez, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
2B – Corban Joseph, Trenton
3B – Robert Lyerly, Tampa
SS – Walter Ibarra, Tampa
LF – Ziolo Almonte, Tampa
CF – Greg Golson, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
RF – Jordan Parraz, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
DH – Kyle Roller, Charleston
Murphy, Roller and Lyerly have already been promoted this year, and although none of them is hitting quite as well since moving up a level, all three were hitting for average and power when they moved. Slade Heathcott and Justin Maxwell might have made this list had they not been injured, instead the outfield has a versatile Triple-A guys along with the system’s best outfielder in the first half. Almonte has been terrific — average, power, speed — and must be getting some consideration for a call-up of his own. Cito Culver might have been the pick at shortstop, but I have a hard time choosing a guy who’s played fewer than 25 games.
It’s kind of a strange thing to come up with a four-man, all-star bench. I went with Montero in a close call over Austin Romine (Montero’s shown a little more power) and I went with Kruml in a close call over Ramon Flores (Kruml leads the system in stolen bases and has been a defensively versatile leadoff man for Trenton). Castro’s been surprisingly good since taking over at Tampa’s everyday second baseman, and Segedin hit .323/.396/.482 while playing third base and the outfield in Charleston. Kind of like Roller and Murphy, Segedin’s off to a slow start since his call-up to Tampa.
It’s pretty much impossible to pick just one of those Triple-A starters. David Phelps has the best strikeout and walk totals and Adam Warren has been the real workhorse, but I went with Mitchell because of the groundballs and because he just pitched back-to-back shutouts. Even with the high walk totals, I’ll stick with Betances as the ace. Plenty of snubs here (The Triple-A guys I mentioned, Banuelos in Double-A, O’Brien in Low-A and High-A). Turley was incredible with Charleston, but he’s about to miss some time.
Closer – Kevin Whelan, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Setup – Ryan Flannery, Tampa
Setup – Tim Norton, Trenton
Setup – Chase Whitley, Tampa
Setup – Tommy Kahnle, Charleston
Long – George Kontos, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Long – Josh Romanski, Tampa
I cheated a little bit to get Romanski in there. He spent most of the year pitching out of the Tampa rotation, but he’s since moved into the Trenton bullpen, so I’m counting him as a long reliever. Norton is on the disabled list, but he could be back fairly soon. Health has always been an issue with him, and this year he’s shown what he can do when he’s actually able to pitch. Flannery is a former 47th-round pick, but this is his second straight season with terrific numbers.